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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

'08 Ass Project

As most of you know, Mrs. G, has started the '08 Ass Project and Wednesdays are the days we are to update or if you are really brave, to post pictures of your ass and face, kind of 'before' pictures.

Well, this is my first update and a little 'back' story, so to speak.

Back in March of this year, I turned 40. As a gift to myself every year, I also get my annual exam on my birthday - I like to give BIG - as you can see. At that appointment, during the weighing process, it came to my attention that my weight was the highest it has ever been in my life, except for when I was pregnant. My weight was 145. Now, I am not a tall person, I barely make the 5'3" that I claim on my drivers license.

Shortly after this doctor visit and subsequent depression about said doctor visit, I went to Illinois to visit family. With no disrespect do I say that the women in my family have ample rear ends and bellies. My dear, dear grandmother and great grandmother, god love them, love to cook and eat and they cook and eat with a lot of love and butter. Think: Paula Deen, from the Food Network.

My mother, on the other hand, does not cook. She actually hates all things domestic and avoids it like the plague. As a true women's liberation, self-proclaimed, man-hater, she sees cooking as a way for men to keep us down. Yeah, that's a whole other post, folks. But through genetics or bad food choices, she too has the rear and belly.

What I'm trying to say is, on my visit to see my family, I noticed these things and had that number from the scale at the doctor's office floating around in my head. There was also the fact that most of my clothes were size 10 and getting a little tight.

Let me say, that I am not and have never been someone who had to worry about her weight. I love food, have always eaten whatever I wanted and a lot of it, and never really had to worry about gaining weight. Also, exercise is something that didn't happen in my life. Running has never been my thing and exercise in general was something I tended to avoid.

Have you heard people say, "Just wait until you are 40, your metabolism will basically come to a screeching halt!" Well, I'm here to tell you that for me, that was true.

The proverbial light bulb went on above my head. Whether I liked it or not, getting off my ass and cutting what and how much I ate was going to have to be a top priority unless I wanted to continue the unhealthy ways of my family.

My main question was, "how can I find a type of exercise that I will stick to and not get sick of?" Personally, if I'm not constantly challenged, boredom starts to set in and it doesn't take long to start making excuses for not continuing. The boredom of a treadmill is almost unbearable to me.

After some research, I came across a link to the Prevention website (prevention.com) and their plan to train for a walking 1/2 marathon. This seemed interesting. Off I went 3 times a week toward being able to walk, a pretty fast-paced walk, 13 miles. It was a 3 day a week training, which worked well for me, and on the off days, I was doing some very simple yoga that only took about 15 minutes, but did a lot in helping my flexibility. After the 15 minutes of yoga, I lifted some small weights (5lbs.) to try and tone up my arms as the bat-wings were starting to settle in. Ugh. All of this seemed 'doable' to me and didn't stress me out and wear me out - it actually made me feel pretty good.

As far as my eating, I didn't change much, didn't go on a diet - we hate that word in our house full of 3 daughters, 1 of which has battled an eating disorder, so we don't use that word. Plus, diets don't work, we all know that. My key was my portions. Since we live on an organic vegetable farm and purchase probably 75% organic from the store, we already eat fairly healthy with an occasional pizza thrown in and sometimes ice cream. For me, it was eating good food, but eating A LOT of good food.

The key to my portion control was my plate size. I went from a dinner plate to a salad plate. When finished eating, getting up from the table and walking away to do something else also helped.

Now, I understand that all people are created differently and we all react differently to exercise and eating right, but I have to say that fortunately for me, sticking with this routine really started showing results quickly.

When on my 4th week of 1/2 Marathon training, I kept getting the urge to jog a little. Never being a runner, this seemed crazy to me, but I started just jogging slowly until I got tired and then went back to walking. After about 2 weeks of this, the idea for 5K training started creeping in. A thought that was completely insane considering I've NEVER been a runner. Back to the internet I went, and came across the Couch to 5K training program - the same one Mrs. G is talking about. After reading through the training and thinking it didn't sound so crazy, I started. I'm in the middle of the 5th week of training on that program and believe it or not, I'm doing it! No one is more amazed than me when I'm able to finish a day of training and actually was able to do it.

That's not to say that I don't wake up and think, "Ugh. I really don't feel like doing this today." But I force myself by getting down on the floor, with my morning cup of tea and doing my yoga, while watching CNN. After yoga, I put my running clothes on and head out right away before I have a chance to think about how much I don't want to do this. After my 5 minute warm-up walk, and the start of the running phase, I'm so happy I forced myself to 'get out there!' The feeling of accomplishment when I get back home is always really great.

So far, between the walking training I started and now the 5K training, I think I've lost 15 pounds, maybe more. I say, I 'think', because we don't own a scale. However, about 3 weeks ago, I had to take my youngest to the doctor and when she left the room, I jumped up on the scale out of curiosity and it read 130, but mostly I base where I'm at by how my clothes fit. My size 10's went to an 8. Now the 8's are starting to feel baggy, but I'm not feeling ready to try on a 6. Let me be clear, I am NOT trying to be a certain size or a certain weight - I just want to feel good and strong, which I do. Truthfully, a size 8 is comfortable for me and I'm not sure I want to be any smaller than that.

As I say this, I have no plans on signing up for a 5K just yet. Who knows, this could all go out the window tomorrow, but I want to finish the training, be comfortable with my pace (which is SLOW) and not feel pressured to run on a certain date. It looks like I should be ready by the end of this month, and there is a 5K in September in a town near us, but as I said, no sign-ups until I feel ready.

What I hope will happen with this 5K Ass Project is that through humor, friends and support, we can all get to a place of feeling good and really talk about our ups and downs to keep it real for everyone. This is not a competition, it is a great way for all of us to be human and give each other a hand. We could all use that, right?

Because I'm so far into the training, I'm not posting a picture of my ass unless I can find an old one to show just how my ass looked before I started walking, because I wouldn't feel right posting a 'before' picture, when it's actually a 'almost there' picture:)

If you are participating in this gig - how is it going and how are you feeling about it?


Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

Wow! You've accomplished so much!!! Great job!

Minnesota Matron said...

Wonderful! That's super - you have just the right attitude, actually. In a similar spirit, I'm participating in a different way. Writing about it today. . . .

Keetha said...

WOW. You rock! That is so impressive!

I started the Couch to 5K program this week. The last time I worked out was over a year ago and I'm finding going from doing no physical activity to running for 60 seconds at time, well, HARD! It's embarrassing that I'm apparently that out of shape. According to the charts and scales and whatnot, I'm about 5 pounds overweight, yet I am apparently massively, massively out of shape. Ugh. It's disheartening and discouraging, really, how difficult I'm finding this first week to be.

Madeline said...

You go girl! So impressive. I didn't gain weight when I turned 40 but I have started to feel the results, in a very big, stiff, painful way, of not exercising for over a year. So I've started walking, working my way up to doing Firm tapes again - I hate running. I am so happy for you. Two sizes smaller?! You're too sexy for your overalls.

Angie said...

Thanks for the support, girls! I'll need it often as I make my way through this thing.

Madeline - you crack me up - 'too sexy for my overalls' - I like that!

Matron - you are a runner, so we know you can relate, although you run crazy long distances that I can't even imagine yet.

Keetha - I just left you a comment on your blog! Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks again, girls.

Anonymous said...

Wow Angie, that's awesome. I think with all the work you do with your farm, it's incredible that you've added an extra exercise routine to your life. Really, I'm impressed. I don't do a third of the work that you do and I have to FORCE myself to go walking.

Bravo girl!

so NOT cool said...

I considered participating in Mrs. G's challenge, but I'm not brave enough. Okay, bravada has nothing to do with it.

I'm lazy.

That said, I'm so glad that this is going so well for you. I'm a big believer in small changes making HUGE differences in our lives. You're proof of that.

P.S. I don't believe in dieting either and only use the word to describe *the menu of my life*. I've had eating disorder issues as well, and I sure hate it when the doctor's office tries to weigh me every freaking time that I visit, even if I've been there monthly. Morons.

Sorry, didn't mean to blog in your comments. ;)

Angie said...

She's a Rebel: You are quite the impressive woman yourself. What you have accomplished boggles my mind.

So Cool: I've never understood the weighing at every visit either - they should change that. Don't ever apologize for 'blogging' in my comments - I love it! Wow, that could sound dirty, couldn't it?? :)

Oakley Rhodes said...

lemonbasil bread blogged! enjoy the recipe!

plus, it's whole wheat and healthy - perfect for our bums :)

Tara said...

Another great inspiring ass story! I've been thinking about Mrs. G and her ass ever since she posted the challenge. Mine seems to be getting bigger by the day since I stopped dance class. I have plans to join an aerobics class next week and walk after dinner, even though I did not officially join the challenge. I'm not brave enough to post butt pictures on the internet quite yet.
Hurray for you! And I love the fact that you don't diet and don't keep a scale in the house.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

You are a real inspiration. I've found karate as my ass kicking activity to kick my own into shape. And I've learned to be a bit more conscious of what I eat. I hate to run, so I admire those who do and can. I dread my 3 mile qualification run when I test for my black belt.

*~*Cece*~* said...

You rock! I've heard great things about the couch to 5k before so I know you're looking & feeling good!

Just this week I decided that I HAVE to get out & walk. I need to walk b/c I feel like a slug. I've slacked do much but I'm turning that around this week!

Professor J said...

This is a great story. I keep thinking about jogging, but I think I'd like to get a little smaller and get a better bra before I try. :-)

Kwach said...

I don't want to talk about it. I finally couldn't stand it any longer and cut the elastic in my waistband at work today, which led to a slight ripping problem down the front of my uniform pants.

By the way, we've bestowed a little blogging award to you! Come see it!


Erikka said...

Go you, Angie. Ok, so it was not your idea exactly, but thanks for putting it out there and sharing your process with us.

While you're at it, I'm interested in your 15 minute yoga routine. Care to share? email me!